President Muhammadu Buhari should disclose the details of his medical expenses to Nigerians. This is important because he used public funds to settle the bills he incurred. I don’t even think he needs to be told to give an account of how he used public funds to treat himself.
He should effect a change in this area. There should be a break from what used to be because the President promised Nigerians change when canvassing for votes. And this is one of the areas we are expecting to see the change.
The President needs to give the details to clarify issues raised in some quarters that he spent an outrageous amount of money. Some claimed he spent about $1m while others said the medical bills were more. But all this will be laid to rest if the President comes out to give details of his expenses.
President Buhari rode to power on the crest of his anti-corruption campaign and it will be a disservice to Nigerians if he decides not to be accountable in this case. We deserve to know because those in leadership positions – including the President – hold power in trust for about 170 million Nigerians.
Moreover, I believe there is nothing the doctors abroad can do that Nigerian doctors cannot do if the hospitals here are well equipped. This is what our leaders should work towards and not to keep travelling abroad, wasting our scarce resources even when they have cold. We have heard cases of Nigerians travelling to foreign hospitals for treatment only to be attended to by Nigerians doctors working in such hospitals. We have the manpower, but they should be motivated and our hospitals should be better equipped. • Mr. Saheed Afolabi, (Deputy Coordinator, National Association of Nigerian Students, South West Zone)
Of course, he (President Buhari) should make his medical expenses public. He has been talking about anti-corruption and when he came into power, he said we should be as transparent as possible.
But for a President to come into power and suddenly begin to use public funds to treat himself, how does it sound? The President should make his medical expenses public so that Nigerians will know how much was spent on his medical trip.
Nigerians are already feeling shortchanged because nobody knew that he had health issues before he was elected. It also shows how careless the government is because if the necessary health facilities were put in place in Nigeria, even if the President brought in a foreign doctor to reside with him in Aso Rock, he would not have spent the kind of money he spent when he went abroad to receive treatment.
This is part of what Nigerians should know. Was the money taken from allocations for health or allocations meant for the State House? People have the right to know these things. It is only fair that the public should be made to know what is happening.
Apart from that, Nigerians also need to know the nature of President Buhari’s ailment because the day he submitted himself for election was the day he stopped being a private person. • Miebaka Tamunomiebi, Spokesman, Ijaw National Congress
There is the need for the President to make public details of his medical expenses, if the money spent was taken from taxpayers’ funds.
But if the money spent is from his personal purse, there may be no need for him to make such details public.
If the money is taken from the taxpayers, the public ought to know the amount spent as well as the nature of his ailment.
But I know that this administration, even if it is taxpayers’ money that is involved, it will not make the details of such expenses public.
This is because this administration is not responsive and it only thrives on lies and propaganda. They know if they make the expenses public, it may lead to other things that will further expose the administration.•Sikirulahi Ogundele (Chairman, PDP, Ogun State chapter)
Why not? The President is a public officer. His office is the number one public office in the country. He is, therefore, accountable to Nigerians for his deeds and misdeeds. After all, President Muhammadu Buhari was the first person to tell Nigerians that he will be the icon of accountability and transparency.
Nigerians need to know whether the medical expenses are moderate or high. And how well is the President since he returned to the country? These are not things that must be hidden from the public glare. We need the data to compare medical bills locally, and to see if similar infrastructure is put in place in our hospitals, will the President still go overseas for such medical voyage? We need to know.
For those who may chide me by thinking that I am an APC stalwart, I make bold to say that the issues that impact on the Nigerian state are beyond party affiliations; they affect every facet of our lives. Thinking about party affiliation in this regard is an aberration. We need to get things right in this country. • Chief Ulo Aye (APC chieftain)
As the number one citizen, President Muhammad Buhari owes us an obligation to explain how much of public funds were expended on his medical trip to the United Kingdom. But there is no way he can account for the money spent without telling us what it was used for. Invariably, he will tell us what illness he was treated for while abroad. We voted for him and he should tell us if he can continue in office or not. He is holding a public mandate and it is obligatory for him to be accountable to Nigerians.
He should lead by example and live true to the integrity he is known for. Former President Nelson Mandela of South Africa gave account of his health. Former President George Bush of the United States of America did the same thing; examples abound on the African continent as well as outside the continent. President Buhari is holding a public office in trust and so he owes us an obligation to tell the truth at all times. Nigerians deserve to know the true state of his health.• Dr. Bamidele Atiba, (Former Vice Chairman of Association of Resident Doctors, Ekiti State)
First, we should find out if the money spent by the President in attending to his health is his personal funds or if the funds came from the public purse.
If the funds are from his pocket, he is not under any obligation to make it public. However, if public funds are involved, Nigerians deserve the right to know. I say this with all sense of responsibility as a citizen of this country.
Since this administration came to power promising transparency and accountability in the conduct of government business, Nigerians deserve to know how much of taxpayers’ money has so far been expended on their President’s medical bills. Now, this is not a matter for the President to come out personally to address.
There are government ministries and agencies that ordinarily should have these records; they can be mandated to make them public or in the alternative, let us have the periodic releases of audited accounts of the expenditure on such items from funds budgeted for such purposes.
In the alternative, any Nigerian can send a Freedom of Information Act request to the Presidency to demand for this information.• Auwal Musa Rafsanjani (Civil Society Legislative and Advocacy Centre)
Compiled by: Chukwudi Akasike, Samuel Awoyinfa, Femi Makinde, Kamarudeen Ogundele and Etim Ekpimah.